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Myths about credit cards and handling credit card debt

Many Michigan residents have no doubt felt the effects of credit card debt. Often times, people may build up a lot of credit card debt during a bout of unemployment, to ease the financial stress of costly medical bills, or due to some other kind of financial distress. When it comes time to pay off that debt, though, many may well feel overwhelmed.

However, that does not need to be the case. Indeed, a lot of what people think about credit card debt is based on myths and misconceptions. For example, one thing that is helpful to do in order to get the debt under control is to check your credit score. While many believe that checking your credit can harm your score, this is not true. On the contrary, it is a simple and commonsense measure to take.

Similarly, merely paying off the minimum balance each month is not enough. While it may be financially easier to simply make the minimum payments, it also means that you will be stuck paying off that debt for a longer period of time. In fact, merely making the minimum payments may mean that the debt is never paid off.

Overall though, perhaps the best thing someone can do is simply pay attention to how much they're spending. Often times, it may seem like a credit limit will not be hit for a long while, but this is the wrong approach to take. Instead, a credit limit should be treated as a worst-case event, and all efforts should be made to avoid hitting it. Of course, unexpected events do intervene, forcing people in Michigan and elsewhere to compile a lot of credit card debt. When this happens, personal bankruptcy might be a solution, offering a person the opportunity to get control of their debt and make a financial fresh start.

Source: New Jersey Newsroom, "7 credit card myths and tips to avoid debt," Paul Sisolak, May 2, 2012

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